Robert Langdon Foreman, Jr
1926 - 2017
A Forward By Patti Annelle Patten
It is with great sadness that I must post that my brother's best friend
has passed away. I truly thought the world of Bob Foreman and when I
think of a true Southern gentleman, I think of Bob. I know that if
there truly is a heaven, Bob and Joe Patten are fighting over who pays
the check but I guess if there is a heaven, there is probably no need
for paying the check. Truly, these two men were responsible for saving
that lovely lady that the people in Atlanta Georgia have the pleasure
of knowing. Had it not been for Bob and Joe and a few others, there
would not be the treasure called the Fox Theatre today. People come and
go and the young forget about the old..such is the way of life. I
always pictured my brother having his memorial at the Fox theatre but
in fact, the people that run the Fox Theatre. the theatre that my
brother saved twice did not give him that send off that I had so hoped
that they would have given him.
Anyway, if you ever go to Atlanta and you go to the Fox Theatre,
remember Bob Foreman and Joe Patten..stop and look around and just
marvel at the forethought that those two gentlemen had. What a shame it
would have been had Joe and Bob been like the ones that run the theatre
today. Bob and Joe your legacy will live on as long as the lady Fox
Remembering Robert Foreman by this site's Web Master, Hal Doby
I feel extremely fortunate to have known Bob Foreman Jr., even though
it was a rather fleeting aquaintance. I only got to spend time with Bob
in very short periods, most of the time, it was when he was with Joe
Patten. The two were extremely loyal friends to one another and in
Joe's latter years, Bob was extremely protective of Joe, making sure
people did not take advantage of his friend.
When ever I saw Bob, his presence was something you could not ignore.
He always had a big smile on his face as he would greet you quite
warmly. To me, he was the epitome of true Southern Gentleman. The
last time I saw Bob was at Joe Patten's memorial Service that was
quickly arranged at the Crawford-Long Hospital's Chapel. Even though he
was wheelchair bound, that familiar warmth was still there and I was
quite happy to see his big smile as he greeted me. He was someone I
will never forget.
Web Master's note:
Most of this information comes from two obituaries by Robert Foreman
III and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Obituary.
Robert Langdon Foreman, Jr. known to one and all as
“Bob,” passed away on January 22, 2017. He had
turned 90 last June. Born in Atlanta’s Piedmont Hospital in
June of 1926, Bob was the first son of Robert L. Foreman I (Trot) and
Mary Rawson Shedden. He was descended from the Sheddens of New York
City, the Foremans of Washington, Georgia, and the Howells and the
Rawsons, both pioneer Atlanta families. While his great-grandfather
Evan P. Howell fought in the Battle of Peachtree Creek, another
great-grandfather town Councilman E.E. Rawson petitioned Sherman not to
occupy Atlanta. After the war, E. P. Howell purchased the Atlanta
Constitution and elevated the paper to a national institution.
As a teen, Bob joined with other boys to form “The Junior
Georgians,” a Society Dance Band where he played the clarinet
and served as vocalist. That group of boys comprised what few have,
lifelong friends dating back to their days at E. Rivers.
Bob Foreman attended Spring Street Elementary and the Taft School of
Connecticut. He personified the motto of The Taft School “To
Serve, and not to Be Served.”
He graduated Chapel Hill in North Carolina where he graudated Phi Beta
Kappa in 1946, he obtained his LL.B degree from Harvard Law School at
22 in 1949. As a Navy reservist, he attained the rank of Lt. Commander.
A founding member of the law firm Bird & Howell, later to
become Alston & Bird, Bob served the better part of his forty
years there as Commercial Real Estate head. He was considered
“the lawyer’s lawyer,” and he sheparded
the careers of many young attorneys. First and last, he was a Southern
Gentleman, with enormous charm and a great sense of humor.
Bob’s higher works were outside of the office, all given pro
bono: He was past President of the Atlanta Bar Association, Member of
the Board of Governors of the State Bar of Georgia, a Trustee and past
Vice President of Atlanta Landmarks and past president of the Student
Aid Foundation. He was past President of the Community Chest, now the
United Way and past Trustee of the Highlands (North Carolina)
Biological Foundation Inc (which his family had created), Chairman of
the Economic Opportunity Atlanta. Also, a member of the Peidmont
Driving Club, the Atlanta paupers club, the 9 O'clockers, the American
Theatre Organ Society, board member of the David, Helen and Marian
Woodward Fund and the Marta Board of Ethics. He served in a
number of lay positions at the Cathedral of St. Philip,
including Senior Warden and Chapter Member.
But his highest achievement, working with his great friend Joe Patten,
was the saving of the Fox Theatre from the wrecking ball in 1975. With
Joe Patten, he and a small band of individuals founded "Friends of the
Fox" in 1973 in a pre-emptive move to save the Fox from destruction. In
1975, after meeting with Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson, he and the
others formed Atlanta Landmarks, a non-profit group dedicated to saving
the Fox and potentially other important landmarks in Atlanta. He served
on the Board of Directors from it's founding into the 2010s before he
retired from the Board.
2010, he was one of three on the Fox Board to vote against the eviction
of Patten from his Fox apartment, and thus at age 84, Bob had to fight
against his own law firm, which represented the Fox. He suggested that
Patten hire attorney Emmett Bondurant, whom Joe Patten retained and
through his great skill, he was able to negotiate a settlement
of the case that allowed Joe to live in his apartment until he
died in April of 2016.
Bob was predeceased by his Brother Rawson Foreman,first wife Betty, his
He is survived by his son Robert L. Foreman III and his daughter Alexa
Foreman stepsons Patrick, as well as his step-children Barry and Daniel
Graham and his Grandsons, Walker, Declan and Sully Graham and his
granddaughters Isabella and Josephine Graham.
Bob's body was cremated and services were held at the Cathedral of St.
Philip on Tuesday, January 31st.